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'It’s getting harder and harder out here' | Metro Atlanta’s high inflation rate not going away soon

The latest numbers released Thursday show metro Atlanta’s inflation rate remains one of the highest in the country.

ATLANTA — How much longer will it be before prices in metro Atlanta start going down, instead of up?

Right now, “It’s getting worse,” said Steve Winchester of Atlanta, speaking outside a supermarket as he loaded groceries into his car. He pointed to his own inflation numbers that he held in his hand, which were printed on his $200 grocery receipt.

He said he is trying to stock up, and buy in bulk as much as possible before groceries cost even more.

“And I heard the gas prices are about to go up, too,” Winchester said.

Currently in Atlanta, the inflation rate is the second highest in the country, according to WalletHub, which surveyed inflation rates in 23 U.S. cities.

Consumer prices are 11.7 percent higher in Atlanta than they were a year ago. Phoenix has the highest inflation rate, at 13 percent. Nationally, the inflation rate is 8.2 percent.

“Yeah, we’ve been right toward the top for maybe the last nine months,” said Atlanta economist Tom Smith, with Emory University’s Goizueta Business School.

Smith said one big reason-- in addition to the costs of food and rent-- is metro Atlanta’s car-dependent culture, and the higher demand for gasoline pushing up overall inflation, here.

“Given the fact that OPEC is cutting supplies, gas prices are going to go up (again), and that will definitely add to our inflation woes here in Atlanta,” Smith said.

What do the market forecasts say about how much longer it will be before inflation starts to ease, here?

"Inflation (nationally) is going to be hovering between, I think, seven and a half and eight percent, probably until the end of the year,” Smith said. “And if Atlanta is still hovering three or four points above the national rate, then we’re not going to see Atlanta’s inflation get under ten or under nine for maybe the next six months, maybe it could be longer, could be more like nine months.”

“Well, that’s a bummer to hear,” said India Baitey of Atlanta as she finished her grocery shopping Thursday.

She is expecting her first child in December.

“We got rent, we got car notes, and insurance, you know, we got a lot to pay for. I’m hoping that it goes down, but all I see is it rising up, and it’s getting harder and harder out here,” she said. 

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